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How to use community service and involvement as a marketing technique

As a business owner, chances are you are always on the lookout for new ways to market and publicize your business in order to increase your sales and get your name out in the community.

There are many ways you can go about doing this. One way is through community service and involvement. When you take this approach, you give or raise money for the community or a worthy cause in exchange for free advertising. This type of marketing technique is a winner for a number of reasons, including:

  • It creates a positive public image. The way the public perceives you is a crucial part of developing your business. By participating in community service projects or being active in the community, you can develop a positive public image as one who gives back to the community.
  • It provides free advertising. This is perhaps one of the best forms of advertising. Many events are publicized on television, the radio, and in newspapers for free. Simply send out your press releases. Make sure your logo is visible everywhere when the media shows up.

How to use community service in marketing
In order to be successful with community service as a marketing technique, there are a number of things to keep in mind, such as:

Make sure the event is well-planned and organized.
How the event is executed is also a reflection on your company. Don't try and throw everything together at the last minute. Make sure you have all the resources needed (many local businesses will also be willing to donate their services or resources; for example, if you are hosting a charity 5k Run/Walk, perhaps a local grocery store will donate fruit to the runners) and give yourself enough time to publicize the event properly.

Publicize the event.
The publicity will most likely be free, but you will still have to let the media and public know of the event. You can do this by writing and submitting press releases and pitching the idea to local news and radio stations. You can increase your chances of getting covered by writing well written, error-free releases and submitting them to the correct editor. Same with news pitches; you wouldn't email the sports editor about the food drive your company is sponsoring.

You can also put flyers around town and send out mailers to your customers telling them of the event, how they can help, or what they can win or receive by stopping by.
Ideas for community service and marketing
When it comes to ideas for community service and marketing, here are some ideas you can promote:

  • Donate your sales. You don't always have to promote a huge event or sponsor one; instead, offer to donate a percentage of your sales to the event or cause in exchange for free advertising. Many companies do this with great success.

  • Organize a run/walk. You can do this inexpensively by making some T-shirts, charging an entrance fee/donation, and organizing with the city planners what route to take. In return, you can have people donate money to a specific cause. Put your business name on the T-shirts and banners announcing the event.

There are many things your small business can do with little or no money that can result in free publicity while establishing a well-respected name for yourselves.

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